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How steamships inspired a screenwriter, ‘unsinkable’ heroine and Hedy Lamarr

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In 1908, 21-year-old Violet Jessop began her new job as a steamship stewardess, assisting lady passengers aboard the Orinoco, headed to the West Indies from England. 

Women workers were still a novelty at sea, and most shipping companies preferred hiring older widows who wouldn’t inflame the desires of the libidinous men on board. But Jessop — who had an ill, widowed mother and five siblings to support — promised to be “most circumspect and careful.” 

The dark-haired, gray-eyed beauty immediately attracted attention: Sailors fell over themselves to assist her; prurient passengers ogled her slim figure. Later, a captain dismissed her after she snubbed his romantic overtures, accusing her of “flirting with the officers.” 

“I did not realize at the time that youth, feminine youth, is almost a fetish to seafaring men and has a tremendous power over them,” Jessop later recalled. “The adulation I had accepted as chivalry was largely a demonstration of sexual attraction.” 

Still a novelty at sea, women had a lot to gain from working on luxury boats, including independence.
Still a novelty at sea, women had a lot to gain from working on luxury boats, including independence.
Corbis via Getty Images

Yet Jessop sailed on, embarking on more than 200 ocean trips in the course of her 42-year seafaring career, first as a stewardess and later, during World War I, as a nurse. Her knack for evading death on some of the most treacherous voyages in history earned her the nickname “the unsinkable stewardess.” Aboard the Titanic, when she was just 24, she showed panic-stricken passengers how to get on a lifeboat, saving herself and several others in the process. 

Despite the danger, the seasickness, the punishing hours and the lusty lotharios lurking on the decks, Jessop relished life at sea, according to “Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them” (St. Martin’s Press), out now. 

Transatlantic travel gave the fairer sex unprecedented independence, writes the book’s author Siân Evans. Between the two world wars, when ocean voyages reached their peak, women from every background and class set sail as a means to start anew. 

Some — such as Jessop — sought employment on ships at a time when jobs for women were hard to come by. Others took to sea to find a new life on another continent, such as the dancer Josephine Baker, who fled racism in the United States for a sensational career in Paris, or the promiscuous romance novelist Elinor Glyn, who escaped scandal in London and reinvented herself as a successful screenwriter in Hollywood, eventually penning the Clara Bow flapper flick “It.” 

Still others became card sharps or “sea vamps,” seducing and swindling rich men during a whirlwind voyage — the kinds of dames immortalized in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Lady Eve.” Evans mentions one former chorus girl who in the 1920s completed 16 round trips on the Atlantic, netting about $1,000 per voyage by beguiling then blackmailing faithless married men. 

Violet Jessop tended to passengers as a stewardess and saved them when the Titanic sunk.
Violet Jessop tended to passengers as a stewardess and saved them when the Titanic sunk.
Crown; Bettmann Archive

These “pioneering and intrepid women,” whether passengers or seafarers, “had their lives transformed by their experiences, mostly for the better,” writes Evans. “Their motivations were as diverse as their personalities, but for each of them, to embark upon a sea voyage at all was to take a step into the unknown.” 

Before the 1800s, sailors largely barred women from their boats — save for the voluptuous carved mermaids on the prow. However, by the beginning of the 19th century, captains began bringing their wives aboard some naval warships, whaling ships and smaller merchant vessels. Some boats even hired women — usually relatives of the boss — to help with catering, nursing and bookkeeping. Yet as emigration to the New World grew in the 1880s, passenger ships from Europe increasingly carried women and children as well as men, and these ships had to employ female crew members so that “proprieties could be observed.” 

These women crew members acted as chaperones, caring for seasick female passengers and “dealing with all the personal hygiene issues likely to arise on an ocean-going trip lasting many weeks.” 

Olympian Hilda James escaped an abusive home and made a life as a swimming instructor on Cunard’s ships.
Olympian Hilda James escaped an abusive home and made a life as a swimming instructor on Cunard’s ships.
Apic/Getty Images

In 1875, England passed a law requiring passenger ships carrying women to employ a matron, “who would look after the interests of female and child migrants” in third class. On the upper decks, stewardesses (like Jessop) acted as “chambermaids, personal maids and sometimes nurses” to the ladies, serving their meals, helping them dress and catering to their whims and ailments. 

Despite the physical demands and cramped quarters, women applied for these jobs in droves. As Evans writes, “The idea of going to sea and earning an independent living was appealing.” 

Take Hilda James, an Olympic medalist who taught swimming aboard Cunard’s luxury ships. Born 1904 to a poor family in Liverpool, James shot to fame at 16 when she won silver at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920. Two years later, Cunard invited the so-called “British Comet” on a free transatlantic trip. The awe-struck 18-year-old sat at the captain’s table in the plush Louis XVI-style dining room, attended galas in glamorous gowns and even experienced her first kiss (from fellow swimmer and future “Tarzan” actor Johnny Weissmuller). 

Hedy Lamarr cozied up to studio big Louis B. Mayer on a ship — and earned herself a contract.
Hedy Lamarr cozied up to studio big Louis B. Mayer on a ship — and earned herself a contract.
Getty Images

Yet when she returned home, James was beaten by her father and got verbal lashings from her mother, who prevented her from attending the 1924 Paris Olympics. 

So James called Cunard, and when she turned 21, ran away from home, snuck aboard the company’s brand-new Carinthia and began her new life as a seafaring swimming instructor and “cruise hostess.” She traveled the world, organized treasure hunts and water polo games for passengers, dealt cards in the officer’s mess, danced the Charleston till late and bought herself a motorbike before settling down and marrying a fellow crew member. 

The people who use these ships are not pirates, they do not dance hornpipes; they are mostly seasick American ladies.

Cunard architect on their steamship passengers

When James took her first trip in the 1920s, ships had evolved from utilitarian vessels to gigantic “floating hotels,” designed specifically to appeal to feminine tastes. 

As one of Cunard’s architects explained: “The people who use these ships are not pirates, they do not dance hornpipes; they are mostly seasick American ladies, and the one thing they want to forget when they are on the vessel is that they are on a ship at all.” 

Once women got their sea legs, they expected more than just cozy settings: They wanted glamorous backdrops. Soon, architects installed dramatic sweeping staircases and mirrored walls “where exquisitely dressed passengers,” such as a fur-covered Marlene Dietrich or couture-clad Adele Astaire, “could pose in their finery.” 

Such lavish backdrops certainly aided stage actress Hedy Lamarr, who had just escaped her Nazi-sympathizing husband with nothing but a pile of gowns and jewels. She somehow secured a third-class ticket on the same ship headed to the United States as Hollywood studio honcho Louis B. Mayer, and she was determined to make him notice her. Every night, she debuted a new dress, piled on her jewelry and descended down the mirrored staircase to the dining room “accompanied by a succession of wealthy and ardent young men.” 

Stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred and Adele Astair enjoyed the luxe life on ocean liners.
Stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred and Adele Astair enjoyed the luxe life on ocean liners.
Getty Images; Library of Congress

She had a studio contract before even reaching shore. 

During World War II, most of the great ocean liners were converted to war ships, but women continued working aboard them as nurses, cooks and stewardesses as well as engineers. 

Once the war ended, “a new generation of women seafarers” emerged to help far-flung families, GI brides and their husbands and refugees reunite via steamliners. 

Maiden Voyages

But the boom in seafaring trips proved short, thanks to commercial air travel, which made crossing the ocean much faster and cheaper. By the middle of 1959, Evans writes, two-thirds of passengers between Britain and America traveled by jet. By the early 1960s, 95 percent of transatlantic travel was by air. 

“This effectively marked the end of the ocean liners as a form of mass transportation,” notes Evans. 

Still, a generation of women who had taken off because of steamliners continued to make waves, shaping postwar America and Europe through culture, science, humanitarian efforts and more. 

For these brave travelers, writes Evans,“the great ship” offered “hope, opportunity, romance.” 

And the journey they took would “change their lives forever.” 

For further reading visit Source

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

For further reading visit Source

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

For further reading visit Source

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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